Dino's - like many Vegas institutions - has always been, and likely will always be, a family business. Purchased in 1960 by Dean "Dino" Bartolo, the neighborhood bar and liquor store was originally called Ringside Liquors (named for the boxing murals on the ceiling), but after becoming a popular local hangout, the bar was renamed "Dino's Lounge" after its owner.
The clientele and staff became a sort-of extended family, starting traditions like the weekly "99" card game on Friday nights. Dino's son Chuck took over the business when he advanced in age, and after Chuck died a few years ago, his daughter Kristin took over the reins.
After more than forty years, Dino's still considers its regulars family, and keeps drawing new generations of visitors to the downtown bar. The monthly First Friday block party held in the nearby Arts District brings the valley's hipsters into the bar to check out hot bands like the Nines and the Clydesdale. Thursday through Saturday, Dino's packs 'em in for its legendary karaoke nights with Danny G.
And, yes, on Friday nights, Kristin and the gang still play the traditional invite-only game of "99." Some things never change. And downtown Las Vegas is far better for it.
-- Review by Pj Perez